Classical Numismatics Discussion
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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Resources  |  Identification Help (Moderators: Varangian, Arados)  |  Topic: Man-Faced Bull Uncertain Attribution Need MFB Expert Opinion 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Man-Faced Bull Uncertain Attribution Need MFB Expert Opinion  (Read 128 times)
Joe Sermarini
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« on: July 11, 2019, 02:49:23 pm »

Neapolis, Campania, Italy, c. 350 - 326 B.C.



The size and weight of the then allegedly unique Vienna specimen, led Taliercio to attribute the coin as a half unit struck with a quarter unit reverse die. The usual half unit has a star on the man-faced bull's shoulder. She also double listed the same specimen as a quarter unit. Additional finds of half-unit specimens without the star and from different dies indicate that it was not a hybrid error. Molinari suggests an early series of half-units was struck without the star. Perhaps the star was introduced after they discovered it could difficult to differentiate between the denominations.

GB89069. Bronze half unit, Potamikon 195, Vienna 1595 (=Taliercio Ia.1 = Ib.1,15), Sambon 560, HN Italy 574 var. (star on bull shoulder), aF, green and red mottled patina, reverse die wear and break at 10:00, tiny edge cracks, Neapolis (Naples, Italy) mint, weight 4.283g, maximum diameter 19.8mm, die axis 225o, c. 350 - 326 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, laurel leaves in triple clusters; reverse NEOP-OLITEW-N (clockwise starting behind), forepart of Acheloios Sebethos as a man-faced bull right, head in profile; zero sales of this type recorded on Coin Archives in the last two decades; the only sale of the type known to Forum is Numismatica Ars Classica NAC auction 64 (17-18 May 2012), lot 1991; extremely rare; $1 million or best offer.

This coin is actually ex Forum 2010 but I had it attributed completely wrong.

I cannot actually read any of the legend.  Do I have it right or is this a heavy 1/4 unit?
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« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2019, 03:48:31 pm »

It could be MSP 195, the no star half unit.  But I wouldn’t label it like that unless there is  some indication of the inscription or linear border, which are distinct characteristics of that variety.  It might also be a regular half unit from group 1b (so MSP 201-209), with the star not visible.  Or, a third option is a new variety, indicating the initial half unit series without star extended beyond the pattern recorded in MSP 195. I like the third option but I’ll have to think about it a bit.

A great coin.  And I’ve been waiting for years for a thread with this title!
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« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2019, 04:15:31 pm »

Here is a bigger pic.  I think there is enough muscle visible to be confident there was no star on the die.
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« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2019, 05:25:50 pm »

Rome also issued a no star variety, but the sole example weights 2.65g.
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« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2019, 09:23:26 pm »

Wow! for the bull-face strike alone.
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